Wayne State’s Underground Theatre, a group of students putting on experimental plays in the basement of the Hillberry Theatre, began their fifth season on June 21.
Kicking off the Theatre’s new season is an adaptation of the play “Medea” by Euripides, an ancient Greek playwright. “Medea” will be the Underground Theatre’s first independent performance and will be directed by Jared Morin and Caleb Matthews.
The Underground Theatre started as a grassroots production company with hopes to provide a creative outlet for WSU students. It is managed solely by students, with no faculty oversight — allowing students to experiment with plays outside of the university’s creative tone.
“Artistically, we are able to go (in) slightly more experimental directions,” said Matthews, a WSU junior in the theatre design and technology program. “We can try things whether they are going to work or not because we are not beholden to a specific profit margin, for ticket sales, and we are not beholden to any instruction being given by people who already know what works.”
“I think it offers all of those involved a lot of creative opportunity and also leadership opportunities that they have missed out on in the actual academic theatre,” said Morin, an English and theatre major at WSU.
Attending Theatre productions like “A Behanding in Spokane” and “The Witch of Edmonton” in 2015 and 2016 as a high school student drew Matthews to WSU, he said.
“While making my college decision, the fact that (WSU) offered a really open-ended summer stock like that was a big part in making the decision,” Matthews said.
The Underground Theatre provides a creative outlet for any student who is willing to work, despite their major, said Morin. In fact, the title character of “Medea” is performed by Mia Hernandez, a graphic design student.
Bringing in people that aren’t theatre majors helps to keep the group fresh and interesting by adding different perspectives, Matthews said.
"It makes performances more exciting and you get performers who are more excited to be on stage,” he said.
This season the Underground Theatre will also perform “Body Awareness” by Annie Baker from July 5 through July 13 and “A Happy Life” by Charles Mee July 19 through July 27. Tickets, showtimes and more information is available on their website www.theatreanddanceatwayne.com/underground.
Jack Filbrandt is a staff writer for The South End. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.